Let Them Grow: Making Nice With Ice & Snow
No, this piece is not about a Disney movie that I am sure in part I have not seen because A: Oh Please No! and B: My daughter is only 4 months old- Instead this is about being literally frozen. Frozen, so cold that even 36 would be warm. Frozen so hard that the play yard and bike tires seem a solar system away. This inaccessibility is only intensified by the constant fear of the hum of boredom coming around the corner.
Toddlers and preschoolers can really spend a lot of time outdoors in the proper clothing. But there is a limit. This recent winter weather has been far from “kid friendly.” Snow is one thing, soft and fun once you shovel out, but ice is a whole different beast. Here are a few great ways to grab that beast by the horns and let the kiddos blow off some steam…
A favorite around here is the oldie but goodie, Freeze Dance. We all remember how to play this one. Pick your favorite song and get the kids to move. Pause the music at random times and yell “freeze!” Encourage the children to stop for a short pause and then start the music back up. Dancing is an amazing way to engage children in a large motor activity without being outdoors.
I love going on bear hunts. It’s winter and there is a bear sleeping somewhere in the house. I have my own take on Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. A silly way to burn some energy is leading the bear hunt through the house. Have the children follow your each and every move. Over the mountain couch or through the table cave or the dark bedroom forest:
Uh-uh! A forest!
A big dark forest.
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
We have to go through it.
Use your own imagination, pre-plan your path, or read the book verbatim. Either way this is a hit!
Another old friend you may have not seen in a while: Simon. Simon tells the children what to do and they actually love to listen! Though, it is difficult for children under 4 to really understand the “Simon didn’t say” part, so it may be best to ignore that part of the game for the littlest ones. Start by having Simon give an easy command, Simon says “touch your nose,” then move to something more exciting; Simon says “hop ten times,” “flap your arms,” or “spin in a circle.” From there bring them back to an easy command- Simon says “touch your head.” By adding some ups and downs you can keep these little bodies moving, until the world outside unfreezes.
Winter activities can often be daunting and difficult to plan, but these easy movement games can keep your toddler moving without bearing the sub zero temps out there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programing for children. She revels in hand-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA.